Sunday, December 26, 2010

Choose Your Side

There are many stories and verses in the Bible that I love, in fact, some are such favorites that I write them on our walls at home.  The wide open space of our walls are so tempting, I have to write on them, and it's fun :-) My children indulge in the same treat of writing on their bedroom wall, it's their place of art.
One of the verses that I have on my closet wall, so I can be sure to see it everyday is in Matthew 12:30. Jesus is talking to the Pharisees and basically saying to them that they are either for Him or against Him. In my Bible, I have the New American Standard Version on one side, and then the Message on the other. When I'm just reading for pleasure I like The Message; it's poetic, and direct, I get it.  This verse is especially direct, no beating around the bush going on here:
"This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you're not on my side, you're the enemy; if you're not helping, you're making things worse."
I believe, we are most certainly at war! Thankfully, when Christ died at the cross He won the war, but do I choose to be on His side? Do I choose to help others get on His side?
The battle is that ongoing spiritual battle, I face it everyday. The battle in my mind, where I have to consciously choose to surrender my all to Him.  I can't just give Him a little of myself, and save the rest for later, that's not being on His side.  It's a total surrender to His will for my life. No neutral ground. As I step forward in my daily walk and He reveals truth to me, and shows me areas that need to go, what will I choose?  Will I continue to hang on to that anger?  Or, will I choose to remain jealous? What about the mask I wear in public, can I give that to him? Will I hand Him my insecurities or my pain of rejection?
For me, I have had to give Him all of these. And, sometimes they come back and try to hit me in the face, it is war afterall. I have to choose to step aside and know that if I remove my mask, He will protect me.  If I give Him my anger, He will walk me through my fear. If I let go of my jealousy, He will show me Who I am IN Him. If I give Him my insecurity and my fear of rejection, He will bind up the wounds that caused them, and bring healing to my heart.
Now, I have to ask myself, am I helping others in their journey? Or am I making it worse? So many times, I have made it worse, because I have not been able to surrender my own stuff, and I have not been able to take a stand for His side. There is no neutral ground, if I'm not helping, I'm making it worse. That's a sobering thought, and I don't like it. It brings me back to my relationships.
Am I helping? In the past when I chose to run from the pain of relationships, was I helping? Now, when I speak too soon, or get too busy, or find myself too tired to be present for my children, am I helping? In my friendships, when I forget their needs or do not pursue their hearts, am I helping?
I have to look at my life daily, and pray that I will choose Him, and that in my walk I will help others choose Him too. He has already chosen me, no one can snatch me out of His hand, but  I do have a choice everyday, there is no neutral ground!
Say That Again, Father.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's Possible!

It's Christmas Morning, and I just returned from the hospital. I was overjoyed to hold our new grand daughter Bella Brady, Her middle name is after her daddy. She is truly lovely, and a miracle from God. As I was driving home, my thoughts drifted to our Savior and to his mother so many years ago.
She was just a young girl when she was commissioned to have the Savior of the world. She was told that she would have a son, yet she had never even been with a man! Impossible!! When Mary asked how this could be, the angel simply said that with God nothing is impossible.
I don't know about you, but if an angel came to me and told me that I was going to bear a son, one that was going to save the world from their sins, I might feel somewhat overwhelmed. Not only that, but the task ahead of raising this child must have been daunting. She was being asked to raise a child that would change the entire course of history, and the eternal destiny of who would choose to believe.
Despite all these seemingly impossible feats, Mary gave herself over to the will of God, so He could accomplish His will through her. This is my desire. I want to be the kind of bondslave to my Father that dares to believe that nothing is impossible with Him.
In my day to day life, as I ask Him to fulfill His purpose in me, and look in His word for His expectation of me, sometimes I feel like it is impossible. It is in relationships, that God has called me to be like Him, and in those areas that I sometimes find it most impossible.  But, with prayer and belief in Him, He is saying to me, it is possible.
In Micah 6:8 it says: He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you. But  to do justly, To love mercy, And, to walk humbly with your God.
Am I just in the way that I treat others? If I have given my word, do I have the integrity to keep it?  Do I act justly in every relationship? For me, it will be through prayer and God's strength that I will be able to be a person that is just towards others.
Do I love mercy? I have received undeserved mercy from my Father. As His child, it is my calling to show mercy to others. I must, in all situations, resist the temptation to retaliate against others, but instead show mercy.  Once again, for me, I know this can only be done by the grace of God. His work through me, His power, not mine.
And, to walk humbly before Him, He wants my heart. He doesn't ask for a grand show, but my humility at His Throne. He wants my obedience to His will, submission to Him. Sometimes, I am distracted and I start to think I need to earn God's love. I become legalistic, or serve Him for the wrong reasons. I cannot be humble before Him, unless I ask Him to make me that way. Bowing before Him at His feet, and willingly giving Him all that I have, believing in my heart that He knows what is best for my life.  He will make ALL that He asks of me Possible!
Say That Again, Dear Jesus, and hold me to it. Keep me accountable to your will and purpose for my life. Just Say That Again, over and over.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Blessings Abound

This morning around 4am our first grandchild was born! Ah! Now, that's a pot full of feelings!  My husband and I have been blessed with four sons and one daughter. Our first three sons are grown and married to beautiful women, I adore each of them. Our youngest son is nine, and our baby is five, our only daughter! So, we have a large and growing family.
Our third oldest son, our first baby in the family, is the one who now has a new daughter. They haven't named her yet, she's so special it's been impossible to come up with the perfect name!
So, at 4am, I got a text, from a son saying that she was born.  I was already awake, so I pulled on my boots and headed to the hospital. When I arrived, our new grand daughter was at her mothers breast, and her daddy, my son was looking on.  Oh, what a priceless picture! His oldest brother and his bride were in the room as well, excitment building.  Soon, our oldest son and his wife walked in the room, and as I looked around at my three sons, their wives and this priceless baby it hit me that God has blessed me with such an abundance that I do not deserve. His love and constant walk with me has been so steady, even in the times when I have not walked with Him, what a blessing!
He has given both my husband and I a family that loves us, He has given us faithful sons that respect us and take care of their wives.  He has protected us and guided us.  Yet, how many times have I complained and whined before Him? How many times have I not believed Him? Or felt unloved? How many times have I simply been unfaithful to Him?
Yet, my God loves me and blesses me.  He forgives me and shows me the truth of Who He Is.  He brings to me miracles of reconciliation in relationships and He heals the scars. He blesses me.  He blesses me, Bethany, because He loves me. He blesses me because I am His child and He wants to take care of me. As I was sitting there looking and listening to my own children and watching in wonder over my grand daughter, I wanted to cry! My love for all of them is so immense, so big and so fierce. I want to bless my own children,  I want to give to their lives in abundance and share with them the passion of joy, the depth of life, the reality of Jesus.  I want them to see and hear and know!
Just as God wants this and more for me and all His children. Blessings of the soul and the heart.  The blessings that bring me to a place where I am dancing and soaring with Him! It's called intimacy.
Say That Again, God, because I want intimacy with you, and I want it with others. Your blessings are intimacies of the heart, Ah, just Say That Again!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I can't just talk about Love?

As God has patiently (and yes, He has had to be extremely patient with me) journeyed me through the obstacle course of life. I admit I certainly do not always talk or walk in love. This is not stellar behaivor on my part, and I'm not pleased to admit this, but it's true. This is an area of prayer for me, where I have thrown myself at the Throne and in submission to my Savior fully admitted to Him that I cannot love unless He does it through me.
Has anyone looked at 1 Corinthians 13 lately? It's beautiful, but not possible, not for me anyway.  I know that I need Jesus to completely take over every inch of my soul, for me to carry out that chapter...
I like the way it's worded in the Message:

Love never gives up- I have given up on love in the past. Thrown up my hands, thrown in the towel, walked away. All done, kinda like the little two year old who has had enough, yeah, that was me.

Love cares more for others than for self-ok, well, hmm, this has required vigirous prayer. It's been an eye-opening experience to say the least, and still, God continues to reveal to me how self gets in the way. I am out for my self, and unless I keep God at the center, I will not be able to love others more than I love myself. Prayer without ceasing, it's the only way, the life line to God.

Love doesn't strut-Why not? I did such a great job!! God has challenged me to be able to discuss my accomplishments and learn to give Him the credit. Who is this about? Sin gets in the way, and I sometimes forget, love goes out the window.

Isn't always me first- Why do I always have to be last, it's not fair.  Whoops, was that my two year old voice again.  Sometimes it comes to the surface and it's actually an outside voice. :-)

Doesn't fly off the handle-This could be referring to me driving in the car again with my children and my stinky dog, and the doors that still do not work. Oh, and the side view mirror that is now broken as well, is this a problem? My nine year old complaining about the Monkey store that we have to shop in AGAIN, and my five year old explaining that the monkey store is actually called the Stinky Monkey and she likes it there. So, why is she crying, again? The dog is still farting, maybe that is why she's crying..I'm thinking about "flying off the handle"

Doesn't keep score of the sins of others- I have had to ask God to take my grudges, you know those nasty resentments.  The stuff that turns into bitterness and steals our joys. It's not good stuff, and I discovered I had a list.  He was very kind and gracious to point them out to me and quick to take them when I gave them. It was a delightful experience for me to have Him swoop them up.
Take Pleasure in the flowering Truth- Ah, the truth. Yes, it does set me free, and to be able to pursue it with a passion and actually let it penetrate my heart. This is what enables me to love freely and willingly.

Always looks for the best-yes, the best in people. As God sees me, He sees my heart, He loves me unconditionally. This is how I am choosing to see others, I want to see the heart of each person I encounter, and I want to love them as God loves them. Through Him, it is possible.  He will work through me and love them deeply and fully.  He will show me their heart and grow trust.  He will give me discernment, and wisdom.

Love never dies- It never dies because God is love, He is action inside of me. He's my steps, moving me forward in relationships, in His love.  Say that again, God, it reassures me. And, it makes me feel loved.

Monday, December 20, 2010


In the early quiet of the mornings I get up and make my coffee and I read my Bible and pray. It is a delightful time of day for me. Prayer, to me, is sanity. It is the one thing that keeps me on track for the day.  I pray throughout the day, but that one time in the morning is my big moment alone with God, and it is very sweet. I usually write my prayers to Him in my journal and I spend a good hour doing it, then I just listen. He brings to me answers from on high and it is in those quiet, sweet moments that I can dance with God!
What does He say? This morning He told me that He would protect me and that He would continue to be my Keeper. He asked me to keep my eyes on Him, to stay IN His heart and He would remain IN my heart. One Spirit, One mind, together.
He said that I was free as a dove, that I could go fly and then told me to read Galatians 3.  It's all about faith in Christ, not the law!'s talking to God, everyday about my stuff.  It's praising Him for who He is. He is truth, He is the breath of Life, He is my protector, My defense, My keeper, Life itself!  Prayer sustains me, it moves me through the day, it calms me.  Prayer gives me perspective, it helps me see Gods view. Prayer changes everything!
Prayer is the first thing I will do and the last thing I will do, sometimes it's the only thing I should do.  Prayer is the most powerful thing I can do. It's my tool, I use it to ask God for the POWER of His Spirit, for the fruit of His Spirit, for His peace, for His Love!  Whew, why wouldn't I pray? It's so, so , cool, and God is so awesome.
He speaks to me when I pray!  Say that again, God! All of it, I want to know YOU!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Who do You say that I am?

Even though I grew up hearing all the Bible stories, and being told stuff about God, I did not have a clue about my position IN Christ. The enemy, was having a great time giving me all kinds of destructive thoughts like "don't talk", "you're not okay" "nobody likes you" everyone will leave you" etc...
As time has progressed, and my journey with Christ has developed He has brought people into my life and revealed to me the beauty of truth. I am discovering Who I really am IN Him, and its pretty cool.
I have the power and authority to send the enemy away, along with the negative thoughts. This has taken a lot of work and discilpline, and sometimes they come back. But, the intensity lessens, and as I am clothed in Jesus Christ, I am learning that He will fight these battles for me when I submit to Him (imagine that :-) )
I was really giddy when I realized that I was actually a saint (Eph1:1) who sometimes sins! Not a sinner. We are God's saints, everyone of us, we are not sinners. We walk in His light, we are children of Light, spiritually alive in Him, we have victory already. We are seated with Him in the heavenly realm and we have access to every spiritual blessing. And, we are complete in Him. Wait a minute, COMPLETE? I've always been told that I was broken? What's this complete in Christ stuff all about?
It's true. Col.2:10 says so, look for yourself. Right there in the word of God it says that I am complete in Christ! My behaivor might be broken sometimes, but that's not Who I Am! I am complete IN Christ, because He has redeemed me. I am united with Him, one Spirit, which means I have access to the power of that Spirit. Whoa--the POWER of the Spirit.
Say that again, God! I want to hear it! Who do YOU say that I am?

Friday, December 17, 2010


I looked up the word Faithful in my ever present Iphone dictionary:
steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant: faithful friends.
reliable, trusted, or believed.
true to ones word, promises, vows, etc.

I don't know about you, but that's a tall order to fill! It sounds like one of those blameless guys it talks about in the bible! And yet, I do have friends in my life that are loyal, constant, steady in allegiance and very faithful friends. They are reliable, trusted and I believe them!
And, certainly, my husband has been all of these to me, above and beyond actually.
So, why do I look at this and think it's a tall order, when it's a reality? And, to add to that, I've been told many times that I am a faithful friend. And, I strive to be one.
Jesus, is our faithful friend, and I know that with His Spirit in us we are enabled to be just that. We can reach out to others just as He does and be a constant in the lives of others and love them as He does. But, it becomes more and more a reality as I realize Who I am IN Christ. I am His friend, His child, His ambassador, complete IN Him. It is Him doing the faithful work, not me. He is the faithful friend, not me.
I have discovered that there is such joy in friendship. And, there is tremendous pain. The joy comes in a faithful friend, the pain comes when a friend is no longer faithful. In Jesus, I am praying to be faithful today to my friends, and to my family. I know I need His spirit to enable me to accomplish this goal. The freedom of being faithful is joy, love, loyality, companionship, fun times, fellowship. Friends show up, someone said that to me once, God shows up all the time in my life and He talks. Say that again about being a faithful friend, God, I need to know!